*calls for independent probe
By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order immediate investigation into the controversy surrounding the N2.5billion allegedly stolen from First Lady, Aisha, by her AIde-De-Camp (ADC), Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Sani Baban-Inna.
He warned that any attempt at cover-up will not augur well for his integrity and his administration’s anti-corruption crusade.
Frank in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja insisted that an open, unbiased and transparent probe of the scandal has become imperative to ensure that the First Lady is not unduly maligned or the ADC wrongly punished.
According to him, if nothing concrete is done to unearth the truth, former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, who was in office for five years, will be a saint compare to Mrs. Buhari who has just spent three and half in office as First Lady.
He said: “The allegation that your wife’s ADC has helped himself with N2.5billion allegedly routed through him for the First Lady is too close home for comfort considering your strenuous efforts in the last three years to rid the country of corruption.
“I don’t think this scam should be swept under the carpet because as past incidences has shown, it will simply refuse to remain buried. Mrs. Kemi Adeosun’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate scam that refused to die until she threw in the towel as Minister of Finance should serve as a guide in this circumstance.
“Besides, Mr. President must realize that this is a classical case of corruption right inside the “other room” which now needs a full dose of “lawful insecticide” to flush out any attempt at criminality at his Integrity Castle.
“I believe that this is a golden opportunity for you to prove critics – who have consistently labeled your anti-corruption fight as “selective” – wrong.
“Don’t forget that Patience Jonathan is today being prosecuted by the EFCC over a sum of N3billion allegedly found in her account after her husband’s exit from office.
“Moreover, I don’t think this is a case for the police or the Department of State Services (DSS) to handle. I believe the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission statutorily saddled with the responsibility of flighting graft and financial crimes should immediately take over this case and ensure speedy and transparent investigation of the matter and ultimately prosecute those found culpable.
“To clamp the ADC in police or DSS detention is tantamount to cover-up of vital information on the matter and shielding of a suspect. Let the EFCC initiate his trial in a court of competent jurisdiction if he had been found wanting.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I make bold to say that Nigerians want to know the “politicians and business people” that donated this money, how much was received and for what purpose.
“Good that Aisha has through a statement by her Director of information, Suleiman Haruna, denied ordering the arrest and detention of Baban-Inna, however she did not deny that she petitioned the Inspector General of Police to cause an investigation into the alleged stealing incident.
“I want Mr. President to know that this ghost of corruption now inhabiting his inner sanctum will perpetually haunt him and his administration if not urgently exorcised through an open and transparent inquiry,” he said.
He also called on the nation’s civil society organizations and the international community to closely monitor the development on this high-wire corruption scandal at the very top to ensure that the facts as to what has transpired is made known to Nigerians and the world without delay.